Wichita Doctor Returns From Helping Joplin Tornado Survivors

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email

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May 26, 2011

Dr. Aaron Davis says he was shocked to hear a deadly tornado had wiped out much of Joplin Sunday, so he turned to his computer to confirm it was real. And only hours after that, he was seeing the destruction first hand as he made the trip to a community in dire need of help.

"It was a horrible disaster so close to Wichita, I mean I couldn't think of an excuse not to be there," said Wesley Medical Center's Dr. Aaron Davis, D.O.

And so he went. Davis left his daily routine at Wesley Clinic this week to arrive to the overwhelming destruction in Joplin.

"Trees [were] upside down and houses obliterated and things [were] where they weren't supposed to be at all," said Davis.

But there wasn't time to take it in, as Davis and other doctors sprang into action. He joined those offering their care to survivors arriving at Joplin's Memorial Hall. The hall had become like a makeshift hospital after one of the city's hospitals was destroyed and the other was too full of patients to take any more.

"When you have the skills and the ability to take care of somebody you should just do it," said Davis.

So he did, working tirelessly from the time stepped into Joplin just hours after the tornado, to the time he left early Tuesday morning. But he says it won't be the sleepless nights or the hours of work he put in that he'll remember most, but rather, those who put in the same hours working alongside of him.

"Either their homes, their families, their friends, something was lost or in a state of chaos and they were just working with the very best of spirits. And that's what I'll remember the most," said Davis.

But he says he'll also remember the images of a city in ruins. They're memories he says have remained just as fresh as they were in the hours right after he left.

"Just that you're leaving something surreal. It was just surreal," said Davis.

Davis also responded to the Haiti earthquake. He says the biggest difference was Joplin was much better equipped to handle a disaster. But he says the city will continue to need help. If people want to take part in the effort, he urges them to contact the Red Cross of the Ozarks. You can visit their website by clicking here.

He also suggests contacting Heart to Heart International out of Olathe. You can visit their website by clicking here.

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